A roof wetting was held at the Protea Glen Mall, which should open later this year, bringing a range of shops closer to residents.
TAKING a taxi to go shopping some distance away from their homes will be a thing of the past for the community of Protea Glen, as a huge new mall with almost all major retailers is to open on 27 September.
Work on the mall is going on in earnestWork on the mall is going on in earnestThe 30 000m2 Protea Glen Mall, which is still under construction, will house more than 90 shops, including popular retailers such as Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Cashbuild, Mr Price, Truworths, Edgars and Clicks.
On Tuesday, 27 March, mall developers Masingita Group held a roof-wetting party, with big names such as Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and the minister of national planning, Trevor Manuel, on the guest list.
The mall is the work of Mike Nkuna, the founder of Masingita Group of Companies, which partnered with Nedbank on the project. Nkuna initially wanted to build a shopping centre in Soweto in the 1980s. He said that when he wanted to build what is now Jabulani Mall in those days, he was advised by a demographer that the mentality of Sowetans and the political challenges were not ready to support his idea.
“I was very disappointed but he advised me to go to Giyani where I come from because I had knowledge that would be useful,” recalled Nkuna, who now owns five malls in Giyani, Limpopo. He was advised, however, that the environment in Soweto would be conducive in ten years’ time.
Premier Nomvula MokonyanePremier Nomvula Mokonyane: Soweto one of the fast developing areas in GautengAnd indeed it was favourable for Nkuna’s business – Protea Glen Mall will be his fourth in Soweto. Jabulani, Bara and Diepkloof malls all fall under his group of companies.
“This is an indication that if we are committed to building the nation nothing is impossible. But of course, we need support from the government and the financial institutions because without capital it is going to be hard,” he admitted.
In her keynote address at the roof-wetting, Mokonyane described the gathering as a milestone in the life of the changing landscape of Soweto. She commended Nkuna for what he was doing for the people of Soweto. “If you succeed in Soweto you cannot fail anywhere,” she assured him.
“Soweto is one of the fast developing areas of Gauteng. We have seen major transformation from being the plumb of the poor and the forgotten ones to the city which many are now proud to call home.”
Mokonyane also spoke of other developments, such as the Soweto Theatre, which would bring entertainment to Sowetans, and the state-of-the-art Zola Hospital.
“We have also put an investment of R7-billion with the development of 24 000 housing units in what is now known as Lufhereng. The residential area will cater for people coming from the backyards of Soweto,” she said.
Protea Glen residents witness the roof wettingProtea Glen residents witness the roof-wettingThe new Doornkop township, consisting of 27 000 new residential stands, would also benefit from the mall as it was nearby. Mokonyane said Protea Glen was bound to become one of South Africa’s attractive areas to live.
The decision by Masingita to invest in this area was commendable not only for obvious commercial benefits but also for the effect it had had and continued to have in changing many lives for the better, she explained.
Some 700 job opportunities were created during construction, and once completed about 1 500 people would be permanently employed.
Nomsa Madondo, a resident across the street in Extension 11, was happy that there would be a mall within walking distance of her house, meaning she would no longer need to take taxi to the shops.
Another resident, Kgomotso Ramotsoa, said: “What makes us happy is that our people will get jobs and maybe the crime rate will drop as criminals opt for crime because of a lack of jobs.”
Protea Glen is a rapidly developing middle income area. The mall is on the corner of Protea Boulevard and the R558, the route connecting Lenasia and Krugersdorp.
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